The Slow Death of the University

The Slow Death of the University
By Terry Eagleton
Apr 6 2015
<http://chronicle.com/article/The-Slow-Death-of-the/228991/>

A few years ago, I was being shown around a large, very technologically advanced university in Asia by its proud president. As befitted so eminent a personage, he was flanked by two burly young minders in black suits and shades, who for all I knew were carrying Kalashnikovs under their jackets. Having waxed lyrical about his gleaming new business school and state-of-the-art institute for management studies, the president paused to permit me a few words of fulsome praise. I remarked instead that there seemed to be no critical studies of any kind on his campus. He looked at me bemusedly, as though I had asked him how many Ph.D.’s in pole dancing they awarded each year, and replied rather stiffly “Your comment will be noted.” He then took a small piece of cutting-edge technology out of his pocket, flicked it open and spoke a few curt words of Korean into it, probably “Kill him.” A limousine the length of a cricket pitch then arrived, into which the president was bundled by his minders and swept away. I watched his car disappear from view, wondering when his order for my execution was to be implemented.

This happened in South Korea, but it might have taken place almost anywhere on the planet. From Cape Town to Reykjavik, Sydney to São Paulo, an event as momentous in its own way as the Cuban revolution or the invasion of Iraq is steadily under way: the slow death of the university as a center of humane critique. Universities, which in Britain have an 800-year history, have traditionally been derided as ivory towers, and there was always some truth in the accusation. Yet the distance they established between themselves and society at large could prove enabling as well as disabling, allowing them to reflect on the values, goals, and interests of a social order too frenetically bound up in its own short-term practical pursuits to be capable of much self-criticism. Across the globe, that critical distance is now being diminished almost to nothing, as the institutions that produced Erasmus and John Milton, Einstein and Monty Python, capitulate to the hard-faced priorities of global capitalism.

Much of this will be familiar to an American readership. Stanford and MIT, after all, provided the very models of the entrepreneurial university. What has emerged in Britain, however, is what one might call Americanization without the affluence — the affluence, at least, of the American private educational sector.

This is even becoming true at those traditional finishing schools for the English gentry, Oxford and Cambridge, whose colleges have always been insulated to some extent against broader economic forces by centuries of lavish endowments. Some years ago, I resigned from a chair at the University of Oxford (an event almost as rare as an earthquake in Edinburgh) when I became aware that I was expected in some respects to behave less as a scholar than a CEO.

When I first came to Oxford 30 years earlier, any such professionalism would have been greeted with patrician disdain. Those of my colleagues who had actually bothered to finish their Ph.D.’s would sometimes use the title of “Mr.” rather than “Dr.,” since “Dr.” suggested a degree of ungentlemanly labor. Publishing books was regarded as a rather vulgar project. A brief article every 10 years or so on the syntax of Portuguese or the dietary habits of ancient Carthage was considered just about permissible. There had been a time earlier when college tutors might not even have bothered to arrange set tutorial times for their undergraduates. Instead, the undergraduate would simply drop round to their rooms when the spirit moved him for a glass of sherry and a civilized chat about Jane Austen or the function of the pancreas.

Today, Oxbridge retains much of its collegial ethos. It is the dons who decide how to invest the college’s money, what flowers to plant in their gardens, whose portraits to hang in the senior common room, and how best to explain to their students why they spend more on the wine cellar than on the college library. All important decisions are made by the fellows of the college in full session, and everything from financial and academic affairs to routine administration is conducted by elected committees of academics responsible to the body of fellows as a whole. In recent years, this admirable system of self-government has had to confront a number of centralizing challenges from the university, of the kind that led to my own exit from the place; but by and large it has stood firm. Precisely because Oxbridge colleges are for the most part premodern institutions, they have a smallness of scale about them that can serve as a model of decentralized democracy, and this despite the odious privileges they continue to enjoy.

[snip]

 

Good Riddance to the University

Cost Of College Degree In U.S. Has Increased 1,120 Percent In 30 Years, Report Says
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/15/cost-of-college-degree-increase-12-fold-1120-percent-bloomberg_n_1783700.html

The cost of a college degree in the United States has increased “12 fold” over the past 30 years, far outpacing the price inflation of consumer goods, medical expenses and food.

According to Bloomberg, college tuition and fees have increased 1,120 percent since records began in 1978.

Using this chart to explain its findings, Bloomberg reports that the rate of increase in college costs has been “four times faster than the increase in the consumer price index.” It also notes that “medical expenses have climbed 601 percent, while the price of food has increased 244 percent over the same period.”

<snip>

 

WHY has the tuition gone up?

Answer CEO SALARY

Answer THE AUTOMATION OF HIGHER EDUCATION

Answer MILITARY AND THE UNIVERSITY COMPLEX

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8 Atlanta educators in test-cheating scandal go to jail

TESTING

2015 Eight former Atlanta public school educators were ordered on Tuesday to serve between one and seven years in prison for their convictions on racketeering charges in one of the nation’s largest test-cheating scandals.
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSKBN0N516D20150414

2011 Marred by Test Cheating Scandals Across US
From Atlanta to Philadelphia and Washington to Los Angeles, officials have accused hundreds of educators of changing answers on tests or giving answers to students. Just last week, Georgia investigators revealed that dozens of educators in Dougherty County either cheated or failed to prevent cheating on 2009 standardized tests.  In July, those same investigators accused nearly 180 educators in almost half of Atlanta’s 100 schools of cheating dating back to 2001 – which experts have called the largest cheating scandal in U.S. history.
http://www.districtadministration.com/news/2011-marred-test-cheating-scandals-across-us

2011 What Do We Do With Teachers and Administrators who CHEAT? The cheaters in Atlanta, D.C., Philadelphia, Houston, Baltimore and elsewhere took advantage of the neediest and most vulnerable children and changed their scores so it would appear they had mastered material, when they in fact had not.
http://www.edu-cyberpg.com/Teachers/standards-corruption.html

TEACHING TO THE TEST
If the test makers create tests that are too easy they lose money. Failure drivers their business.   Tags: #test #SAT #flunk, #drop out, #retention, #social promotion, #graduation rate, #exit exam, #left behind, #Light’s retention scale
The Opt Out movement
http://www.edu-cyberpg.com/Teachers/test.html

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[ECP] Educational CyberPlayGround K12 Newsletters

Student Debt

The Lost Purpose of School Reform Diane Ravitch
http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2015/apr/02/lost-purpose-no-child-left-behind/
“NCLB decisively changed the purpose of the law. What had once been a means of sending additional resources to schools enrolling poor students was turned into a testing mandate. By law, all students, regardless of disability or language proficiency, must be “proficient” on state tests by 2014. Congress and the Bush administration believed that their mandate could produce universal success in school, akin to passing a law proclaiming that all crime should cease by a date certain. Note to Congress: if wishes (or congressional mandates) were horses, then beggars would ride.  Not surprisingly, it didn’t work.”

richard branson: “It is possible that school is not necessary. I left school at 15.”
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/2015-04-09/richard-branson-entrepreneurs-and-real-world-education

State AGs Urge Federal Forgiveness Of Student Loans Tied To Dodgy For-Profit Chain
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/09/federal-student-loan-forgiveness_n_7037128.html

Apollo Affiliate to Invest $1 Billion in Online Student Lender
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-04-14/apollo-affiliate-to-invest-1-billion-in-online-student-lender

Debt Collectors Lose Lawsuits Against Education Department It beat its aggrieved debt collectors in court
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/14/education-department-debt-collectors-lawsuit_n_7067292.html

US ED fines Corinthian $30 million for misrepresentation of job placement rates — will halt fed $ at Calif. Heald campuses
Federal judge tosses debt collectors’ lawsuits against  fined Heald College
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/14/heald-college-fine-jobs_n_7067056.html

@StrikeDebt “@usedgov is saying 4profits can steal billions so long they get cut in on the action too”
@StrikeDebt “Wells Fargo made billions off of 4profit Corinthian with help from the @usedgov which get’s it’s cut on the backend .”

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[ECP] Educational CyberPlayGround K12 Newsletters

Teen Changes Wallpaper On Teacher’s Computer; Gets Charged With A Felony

“Even though some might say this is just a teenage prank, who knows what this teenager might have done,” — Sheriff Nocco

Yep, unauthorized access, CFAA violation, that’s a felony.

 

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Calling Security experts / technologists opposing purported info sharing bills that actually waive privacy laws and enable more surveillance.

Hello,

As you may know, there are three cybersecurity information sharing bills pending before Congress right now. These bills would weaken privacy laws and enable surveillance at a time when we need stronger privacy protections. These are surveillance bills, not security bills.

Every one of the bills is an end run around privacy laws in the name of improving security information sharing with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The bills define “cyber threat indicators” in a confusing manner that could include server logs, the contents of emails, damage estimates, and more. This kind of private data is not what is generally needed to secure systems. Nevertheless, the bills say that private entities will be immune from liability for sharing this information  with DHS (and other parts of government) “notwithstanding” any privacy laws.

Surveillance reform advocates are trying to stop these bills. There is a lot of support in Congress and from the White House. So, to succeed, we need your help and we need it now. We expect the bills to come to a vote mid-April.

As a security expert, would you be willing to sign a letter helping to educate Congress about what kind of information experts actually share to further cybersecurity and secure systems from future attack? By helping Congress understand what information is useful in security, we can stop a bill that would needlessly waive privacy.

Please let me know if you can sign on by no later than 8pm ET Sunday, April 12. Email to jennifer at law.stanford.edu your name, title and affiliation. We plan to use your titles and affiliations for information purposes only, not to indicate that your employer is also signing the letter. For example, my signature would be Jennifer Stisa Granick, Director of Civil Liberties, Stanford Center for Internet and Society* and the asterick text would say “*Titles and affiliations are for information purposes only.” If you want to sign but don’t want to include your title or affiliation, or don’t have one, please indicate so, and we will respect your wishes.

My plan is to circulate the letter to the sponsors of the bills and to the rest of Congress on Monday, April 13.

Please feel free to email me or set up a call with me if you have any questions about the bills or the letter.

Once again, I can be reached at jennifer at law.stanford.edu

Finally, please do forward this request to anyone you think might be knowledgeable about security information sharing, and interested in sighing the letter.

For more information on these laws, you can read here:

Jennifer Granick—The Right Way to Share Information and Improve Cybersecurity: http://justsecurity.org/21498/share-information-improve-cybersecurity/

OTI—VERSION 2.0 OF THE SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE’S CYBER INFORMATION SHARING ACT IS CYBER-SURVEILLANCE, NOT CYBERSECURITY:http://www.newamerica.org/oti/version-20-of-the-senate-intelligence-committees-cyber-information-sharing-act-is-cyber-surveillance-not-cybersecurity/

CDT—Analysis of Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2014: https://cdt.org/insight/analysis-of-feinstein-chambliss-cybersecurity-information-sharing-act-of-2014/

Thank you for your time, attention, and assistance in this important matter.

Jennifer Granick

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